When I was in middle school, I started hanging out with this tough kid named David Morry. He lived a few blocks from me. It is funny that I cannot remember seeing him in school. He went to my school, but I don’t place him there. David didn’t like school and he didn’t do well. I liked it enough to excel. We were not in the same group.
David got into trouble a lot. He shoplifted, destroyed property, and was rude to people, especially adults. At first, I thought this behavior was interesting, because it was so different from the way that I acted. It seemed exciting and dangerous. But no one liked David except for a couple of other tough kids that he hung out with. David made his parents miserable with worry and concern. He didn’t seem to care. One time, he asked me to steal some beer from my parents. As I tried to carry a pack out of our kitchen, my mother caught me.
“What are you doing? This is so unlike you,” she said. I could see she was sad.
She was right. It wasn’t me. I didn’t like the way I felt, the things I did, or the way I made other people feel when I hung out with David. So, I gave him up. I renounced him.
In our Buddhist practice, we renounce, as well. Renunciation is one of the paramitas, the perfections that we strive for. We give up thinking, saying and doing everything in our life that causes us and those around us pain and trouble. We face so much that makes us want to get, hold on to, and never let go of.
Meditation is a good vehicle for renunciation. We see the true nature of all that comes in front of us and we practice to let go.
“Those true [humans] bent on renunciation
Detached from all the planes of being.
Plow their course for the good of the world.
Striving to fulfill the paramitas.”